We are on the home straight now. Tomorrow will be our last meeting when we will finish adding our features and news stories to the magazine webpage, ready to go live on Thursday.
The past few weeks have been incredibly stressful. I have followed a plan of action to complete the necessary tasks for each module in time but despite my best efforts to remain calm, life has increasingly come to resemble that of a plate spinner. With so many deadlines all approaching at once, trying to give each module some attention when another one is screaming “Spin me! Spin me!” has been quite exhausting.
The news and magazine module has in one sense been the easiest module to complete as finding features and news stories, conducting research, interviewing people and writing up the results is something I enjoy and am quite good at.
The more challenging elements of this module were getting to grips with using video equipment, audio equipment, and learning about lighting and photography. Then learning new computer programs to edit recordings. I recorded, edited and posted a short clip on YouTube using my iPad for an in class exercise and was really pleased with my achievement, having never done anything like that before.
We made a good team and communicated well. We worked hard to achieve our tasks and helped and supported each other. I am particularly happy with the team effort of the cooking experiment which we filmed at my house. Everyone contributed to the task and we had great fun and a lot of laughter, first on the night and later as we watched and edited the recording.
While I am relieved that this semester is nearly over, I am a little bit sad that this module is at an end. It has been a real joy to be part of the evolve magazine team.
Things have been hectic during this last week before we finish for the long Christmas break. Other commitments such as an essay hand-in and in-class presentations for another module have added to the stress of keeping on track with our magazine. However, we all made it in for a team meeting and we are all progressing.
Alice Webber knows some graphic design students and they have been designing a logo for our website magazine. We looked at different colour options for the logo and the consensus was to go for the monochrome design as it looked sharp and clear. We also discussed our third feature ideas which will have to be written over the Christmas break and all agreed that the news story would be the last thing we write as it needs to be current when we go live in early January.
My next feature follows on the theme of food provision that I have previously written about on allotments and war-time rations. I plan to write about the current increase in the use of foodbanks as some people struggle to pay for food on low incomes with high utility bills and housing costs squeezing them into poverty.
As a team we are using our own interests and skills to develop our features and the webpage. This is adding a wide variety of copy to the magazine which will be of general and specific interest to our audience. By meeting regularly we have been able to keep on track and look out for each other. We proof-read each other’s features to ensure accuracy and consistency following the Falmouth University house style guide.
It has been a busy few weeks. Here is the latest news on our magazine.
OK, so, evolve magazine has … um… evolved. That is our digital magazine name. We are all working together well and have a variety of material for features. My first feature on allotments is finished.
For my second feature I thought about ‘Cooking with Rations’. This was well received and I suggested filming a cooking demonstration of me recreating Lord Woolton’s famous pie. The rest of the team were happy to be guinea pigs and sample my cooking.
I invited the evolve editorial team round to my house and we filmed at intervals during the evening.
After setting up the P2 video recorder, the sound equipment and the lighting, there was barely an inch to spare in my shoe-box sized house for the actual recording but the team rallied around and worked in quite cramped conditions. It was great fun working out solutions to get things right.
The cooking demonstration went really well and it was a lovely social occasion. We are now editing our recording utilizing our recently learned skills of Adobe Premier and Adobe Audition then the film will be embedded into my feature. We even have enough material to produce a short film of ‘bloopers’. I must reassure Mary Berry and Nigella that they have no need to worry, I will not be chasing after their jobs any day soon.
We have now been allocated our teams for our online magazine assignment.
Initial thoughts on a ‘Health and Lifestyle’ magazine were agreeable to all, which was a great start. We each have something to add to this concept so we can play to our strengths to contribute features and news stories.
Our target market is quite broad. At this stage we have ideas to cover male and female interests and appeal to a wide age range of all shapes and sizes. It won’t be full of perfect models living perfect lives where money is no object. It will be for real people with real issues and will provide interesting and informative articles of general and specialist interest.
As we are based in the South West, it is logical that we pitch our magazine at a local audience. For logistical reasons it is likely that many of our features will be based on local events, activities and people. However, with the global reach of the internet, it is possible that we may cover topics of interest (and appeal to readers) from further afield. If we were looking for advertising revenue, it would be ideal for local businesses though there is always scope for national companies involved in the health and lifestyle market.
We are still mulling around a few names. We want something that says what we are all about, a positive and catchy title. I may be a bit premature in saying, but one contender is Vitality.
A very useful session on website design last week has got us all thinking about themes and page layouts for our magazine. The visual impact of a magazine is very important, it needs to look professional, colourful, have a consistent theme and hold the attention of the reader. Also the website has to be clear in its purpose and easy to navigate.
Work has now started. We met to discuss our ideas and are now working on our first features. I have been a bit slow off the blocks as I had a bout of ‘freshers flu’ and am still suffering with a chest infection as well as working my part time job. I have managed to do an interview and gather some background research so now I just need to start weaving it together.
Following this week’s class, I realize that my knowledge of the magazine industry has been scant. Through my job at the Post Office and village stores I know that there are a wide variety of consumer magazines available. I am also familiar with some of the special interest and trade magazines that customers order in. Other than that I have an awareness of quirky independent magazines from watching the television programme Have I Got News For You. The ‘Guess the Missing Words Round’ features a humorous and obscure title as its ‘Guest Publication’ for example Goat World or The Caravan Times.
I have learned:
- Most magazines are published under a company umbrella. For example, Condé Nast has 24 brands – upmarket glossy magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ.
- According to its website: “Bauer Media UK reaches over 22 million UK consumers every week through a portfolio of world-class, multi-platform media and entertainment brands including heat, Kiss, Grazia, Empire, Magic and Absolute Radio…”.
- All magazines have an accessible ‘Media Kit’ which provides information on sales, readership, target market and advertisement costs. It comes as no surprise to learn that most magazine revenue comes from advertisers and that no magazine could make a profit on sales alone.
A quick internet search reveals that there is a vast amount out there, in printed or digital form. As a budding Journalist with an interest in freelance work and feature writing it is very encouraging.
I am looking forward to this semester’s assignment – a group project to develop an online magazine concept. There are some technical challenges which I am looking forward to such as designing a website, improving my photography skills and recording and embedding videos. Our news stories and features will be incorporated to reflect the magazine style.